CAIRO: Imbaba, an elaborate squatter area in Giza, Egypt, records 23,000 newborn babies annually, compared to the least fertile upscale Zamalek area with its 235 yearly births.
According to a recently published report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS), Imbaba, which has a population of 1.1 million living on an area of 17,000 square km, contributes 1.1 percent to Egypt’s annual population rise.
Official statistics claim that Egypt’s population grows by 1.9 million every year, denoting a birth rate of 25.8 percent. The number is expected to go down to 1.2 in the next few years. The annual death rate of 6.3 percent (452,000 people) means that the overall natural population increase rate is at 19.5 percent.
Although Imbaba is part of Giza governorate, statistics show that Cairo governorate has the largest population density with a rate of 40,891.9 people per square km while Giza has a rate of 5,266.6 per square km.
The government has been working on a campaign to reduce the number of birth rates, especially in rural areas where people are less educated, through public service announcements on television.
The “Ask for Advice campaign raises awareness about contraception methods. It is supplemented with rural clinics with specialized doctors who offer consultation services.
A recent campaign called “Waqfa Masriya (An Egyptian Stand) aims to limit the number of kids in every family to one or two by urging people to think about the quality of life they can offer their children and how they can provide for them.
The Ministry of Health officially refuted rumors of plans to sterilize men and reduce fertility, saying that its strategy is based on raising awareness among citizens.
It has also enlisted the help of female guides whose job is to encourage women to visit specialized medical centers providing information about contraception and women’s reproductive health.
Sahar El Sonbaty, head of the population sector at the health ministry, said during the National Population Conference in early July that the ministry’s target is to reach a total birth rate of 2.4 children for every woman by 2012 and 2.1 by 2017.
She added that the target usage rate of contraception methods is 76.3 percent by 2012 and 73.3 percent by 2017.
Egypt ranks 16 among countries with the highest population density with the latest CAPMAS statistic of 75,204,662 million. If the current increase rates persist, this number is expected to reach 90 million by 2020.